Good evening, New-Knows!
For my half of the Choc Nut and wine pairing experiment, keeping in mind the considerations Gail mentioned in the first part (i.e., conventional wine pairing principles, price point, etc.), I wanted to choose vastly different styles of wine to get a greater range of food and wine interactions.
Using the powers of online shopping and Grab Mart, I procured my wines and Choc Nut (with Hany for comparison) with haste.
Side note: I can confirm that Hany’s recipe is a far cry from the pure childhood delight that is Choc Nut.
(May I just say how jealous I am not to have been able to procure Choc Nut for this experiment? – Gail)
Drink # 4
The Beverage: Braida Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG 2019
Where to buy it: Happy Living Wines
Price Point: Around PHP1,000
Why: Full disclosure: I’ve been on an Italian wine spree in preparation for my Italian Wine Scholar test, so Italian wines are always the first thing I look to these days. I’ve recently paired Brachetto d’Acqui, an aromatic frizzante (slightly sparkling) red wine from the Piemonte region, with Nutella crostini. So with the logic that Piemonte chocolate + Piemonte hazelnuts + Brachetto = good, I decided to see if it was simply a matter of ‘What grows together goes together‘ or if there was more to the pairing than that. In theory, the bubbles of the Brachetto should act as a palate cleanser to the Choc Nut. At the same time, Brachetto’s light berry notes also go well with most chocolate desserts.
Observation: What I did not anticipate was that the bubbles of the Brachetto did too good of a job as a palate cleanser… So much that it erased all traces of both the Choc Nut and Hany from my mouth. It didn’t die per se; there just wasn’t a whole lot going on.
The Verdict: Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pleasant pairing. It works. There just wasn’t enough flavors in the wine after it washed my palate clean of the chocolate and peanut flavors of the Choc Nut. It’s a safe pairing, but not my favorite of this bunch.
Drink # 5
The Beverage: Chateau Imperial Late Harvest Tokaji 2015
Where to buy it: Wine Drop/AWC
Price Point: Less than PHP900
Why: When I think of the noble rot Tokaji… I think of honey, I think of fruit preserves. And when those flavors come to mind, I have an itch to dip them in chocolate and mix in some nuts. At the same time, Choc Nut texturally mirrors the weight of the wine, being that Tokaji is typically unctuous. Tokaji wouldn’t have too high an acidity level to clash with the Choc Nut, either. In fact, a sweeter wine, theoretically, is supposed to go well with sweet dessert.
Observation: The flavors of the wine and the Choc Nut made sense together. None of it got lost in the fray. Sweet and sweet met in the middle, and there was enough of the chocolate left alongside a sliver of sweetness from the wine, which translates to light notes of honey.
The Verdict: Yes to pairing this with Choc Nut, but not with Hany. Because Hany is a tad sweeter than Choc Nut, the wine dies. Keeping in mind the price point, I think it’s a win for the wine.
Drink # 6
The Beverage: Lustau “Don Nuno” Dry Oloroso Sherry
Where to buy it: Ralph’s Wines
Price Point: Over PHP1,000
Why: Okay, okay… I had a bit of fun with this pairing. I selected this wine out of the various styles of Sherry we have available in the market because of the name. It was too good to pass. Textbooks say that a dry wine will clash with sweet food, but I’ve been surprised before. I would’ve maybe gone with a Cream Sherry if we were going for nuttiness in wine to mirror the Choc Nut’s flavors, but I digress.
Observation: I kid you not, I messaged Gail immediately right after I had a sip. There was an initial clash of acidity from the wine meeting the sweetness of the Choc Nut but with the Sherry’s long nutty finish, I get over it fast. I was left with a palate teeming with salted nuts, figs, coffee, and toasted caramel from the wine alongside the chocolate and nuttiness of the Choc Nut.
The Verdict: Definitely my favorite pairing of the bunch even though it sort of didn’t meet the affordability criteria. It is just too good not to put in the spotlight. Heck, even my sister who doesn’t really drink wine loved it. I would lean towards Choc Nut rather than Hany for this pairing, though.
At the end of it all, I guess we can say that Choc Nut pairs with “Nuno.” *wink*